I got in late last night after hanging out with some friends. Later than I had planned is a more accurate way to put it as there was a time in my life when I would not have called that late. Anyway, I have things to do this morning and therefore, I had to get up earlier than I wanted. So, I am tired.
I know we are all tired. I have asked my students to write a journal about what they would do if they could extend a long break for one more day. The answer that comes up most often is sleep. My 4 ½ year old often tells me he is tired (true, it is usually when he is asked to do something that he doesn’t want to do, but that is another story). I’ll talk to friends and colleagues and everyone seems to be talking about how exhausting their day was. So, it seems as if everyone is overbooked, overcommitted, over stressed, etc. So, when I say I am tired, I am not looking for sympathy.
The weekend is, at least in theory, a time when you get to do more what you want to do and less what you have to do. Of course, errands and just plain old stuff needs to be accomplished. Still, there are less hours that are committed to musts. I thought that the last two nights were going to be the type where I wake up and after a customary stretch and yawn, I feel energized. I lied or am I a glutton for punishment. ASIDE: I think not setting an alarm clock and waking up naturally is one aspect of a perfect day. Now, back to the lie. You see last night I went to sleep a little after one (wanted to go to sleep earlier but couldn’t convince my body to get up and so stayed at my friend’s house until somebody else got up) and did not have to get up till 7:45. As I went to bed, I thought to myself 6.5 hours – that’s not bad. Seemingly a blink later, I felt something moving in my bed. No, it wasn’t my wife and we don’t own pets. It was my human alarm clock, in this case Bezalel, my older son. I tried to pretend that I could continue sleeping but the kicking and pulling of the blanket ended that dream (pun intended). I looked over at my clock which said 7:00. The hoped for extra sleep was not going to happen. I tried to comfort myself with the thought that I’ve been woken up much earlier by my sons in the past.
So, we are all tired and wishing for more sleep. Is there ever a make-up? You know maybe a day, two days, a week (dare I think it) where we can catch up on sleep. I’m guessing not. If there is a make-up, I’m nearly certain everyone could get an ‘A.’
It is very hot today. It was very hot yesterday. It is supposed to be very hot tomorrow. July, summer. No big surprises. Just do me a favor, don’t talk about it. In fact, weather is on my list of things that are not worth talking about.
My maternal grandparents used to live in an apartment building that was not officially for elderly people, but let’s just say that the entranceway had a faint smell of mothballs and kasha. I have just a few memories of my grandfather, who passed a month and a half before my 8th birthday. Anyway, when I would visit, he would take me down to the lobby area while my grandmother was busy cooking all my favorites and doing other grandmotherly things. We would sit in the lobby waiting for one of my grandfather’s buddies to come by. Eventually, one of his pals would come by and sit on the ledge next to us. Inevitably, the first thing the elderly gentleman would say is, “oh I see your grandson is back. He’s getting so tall.” My grandfather would look over at me and smile. The observation would be repeated in my direction. I didn’t know how to respond, so at most I would say, “yup.” With that part of the conversation dispensed and a reminder of my name, they would go on to something else (unfortunately, I can’t remember even one topic). Of course I’ve grown. I’m supposed to grow – I’m seven. I wanted to be big, but I still had no response or wasn’t even sure they wanted one. I was just there. Anyway, I decided that if I ever said something like “you’ve grown so much,” that it would make seem like an old man. I’ve had to fight the urge on a number of occasions especially when I’ve seen my nephews after a long break. This is a topic that I don’t bother mentioning.
So, it has been very hot. Yes, I check the weather – weather on the ones, near the end of the newscast, weather.com. I am well aware of the predictions, but I don’t bother talking about it. What’s the point? Yeah, if you have nothing to say or are just trying to be polite, a “hey how about that weather” might get something going. Nothing all that interesting though. So, it’s going to be hot tomorrow. What else you got?
I feel guilty. I shouldn’t. I’ve done nothing wrong. You see, I am not working this summer. One cool thing about being a teacher is having summers off. However, I normally work during the summer. This summer is different.
The plan was for me to play Mr. Mom. Between driving my kids to and fro camp and spending time with them before and after camp began, I was to have a full or at least occupied schedule. Yes, there would be some extra down time for me to relax and regroup for the coming school year. I would have time to do those chores that are always put off till “I’ll do it when I get a chance.” There would also be some time for reading and writing and other fun things. However, my main priority this summer was to be there for my children. They needed me. So, I would stay home for their sake. I was going to be responsible by not working. I would play a bigger part in their lives than during the hectic school year when I am stressed and perpetually aware of the time.
Things changed. My younger son, Shamai, was having a great time in camp. He came home happy and tired. A combo deal that parents of young children would take any day. So, my wife and I decided to send him for the second encampment as well. Isn’t that great? Well, yes it is. However, what am I supposed to do?
I’ll be honest. I was never 100% comfortable not working. In fact, I searched for a job that would fit into my limited schedule. I spoke to my employer from the last two summers, and she told me she could not hire me because of my lack of availability. I tried to get some clients for one on one tutoring (still am trying – if interested – contact me). I’ve done this in the past, I enjoy it, and the pay is good. No luck. Anyway, I contented myself. I will be there for the children.
Now, Shamai is in camp for 3 extra weeks, and I have hours each day when both children are out of the house. Oh yeah, I still am the boy’s chauffeur, their Wii partner, their sports instructor, and fellow SpongeBob watcher. So, there is still plenty of bonding time, but this is not what I signed up for. I am not complaining or even asking for my money back (never earned any – part of the problem). I got lots of time with Larry, yup. I keep busy – that’s not the problem. I just feel guilty sometimes – shouldn’t I be working? I could use the money. Give me a minute, and I could give you 10 things to spend the money on. I tried to get work – really, I did. But, it didn’t work out. That’s okay, right? I’ll think about it next time I have my feet up in my quiet house doing what I want to do.
It’s the late afternoon of a fast day – no eating or drinking. The fast began at 4:38 a.m. and concludes at 9:11 p.m. I didn’t get up to eat before it started but did make sure to have a midnight snack. Anyway, it’s nearly 5:15, and I am hungry. Not a shocker there. Vegas wouldn’t have paid much on that bet. However, I feel the same degree of hunger (and less thirst) now as when I woke up. So in affect, there has been no change – I feel the same. A phenomenon – not quite Newton – but a phenomenon. I am a good faster. I am not quite sure where that fits on a resume (unless you’re the hunger artist – maybe Kafka was also a good faster) but a skill none-the-less
I have this theory. You can either be good at fasting or staying up all night. Both these tasks are required at various times throughout the Jewish calendar. However, fasting is much more common. So, I have it good. Anyway, I have next to zero scientific proof in support of my theory. However, it makes sense -doesn’t it? You know, “you can’t have everything” and all.
Those of us who fast are tough. Deprivation for a purpose. We can survive hard times. No food today – that’s okay I’ll be fine. You eat (weakling). Those who can stay up all night are selfless. At first, this meant that you were nosy. Going to sleep meant leaving the party. Who knew what would happen when you left – the good things always happen just after you leave. However, as you got older staying up all night became heroic. No, I’ll get the baby. It’s no problem, I got it. You go to sleep. I’ll be fine.
Well, just a few more hours and the fast will be over. I will be able to eat. Yup, yup, I’ll probably grab something to eat then or maybe not. It’s not like I have to. I am just fine. I got skills.